As the N.C. Department of Transportation prepares for this weekend’s winter weather, North Carolinians are urged to get any food or other supplies they may need, because travel could be dangerous during the storm.
“Our crews and contractors are doing all we can to get ready for this storm and we ask North Carolinians to prepare as well,” said J. Eric Boyette, State Transportation Secretary. “Please make sure to plan ahead because this storm could impact travel around the state.”
NCDOT crews and contractors used hundreds of trucks Thursday and Friday to apply brine to roads from the mountains to the coast in advance of the winter storm. Brine, a cost-efficient mixture of salt and water, lowers the freezing temperatures on pavement and helps prevent ice from forming on roads.
Other crews are preparing chainsaws and other tools that will remove any downed trees.
After pre-treating the roads, crews will rest, then switch out brining equipment for plowing equipment to clear the roads of snow and ice for post-storm response.
“After the storm hits, please stay home and off the roads,” said NCDOT Chief Operating Officer Beau Memory. “NCDOT and contractor crews will do the best they can to clear roads as quickly as possible, but we ask everyone to be safe and stay patient.”
Similar to many industries nationwide, NCDOT staff and its contracting crews have been impacted by labor shortages and response times will likely not be as quick as in the past.
NCDOT and the State Highway Patrol plan from Saturday to Monday to tow any abandoned or disabled vehicles, as those could be dangerous for emergency responders and road clearing crews.
NCDOT Statewide Storm Preparations
In the Asheville and Sylva areas, crews started brining operations Thursday. NCDOT plans to have four plow trucks and two motor graders to work on the I-26 construction zone in Buncombe County, which is a critical corridor in the area. Crews in much of the northern foothills started brining Thursday and will finish up Friday.
In the Charlotte area, 133 transportation crews will use 288 trucks with as much as 125,000 gallons of brine to pre-treat about 2,000 lane miles. In the Shelby area, more than 200 employees will be on hand to apply about 143,000 gallons of brine before the storm hits.
More than 350 NCDOT and contract crews in the Winston-Salem area began brining operations Thursday and are continuing into Friday. In the Greensboro area, crews will brine interstates and primary roads Friday.
In the Sandhills area and central North Carolina, more than 186 employees started brining roads Thursday and will finish up Friday. Crews in the Raleigh area started applying brine Thursday and plan to apply about 160,000 gallons of brine to the area’s 3,600 lane miles of roads.
Crews in eastern North Carolina, including the coast, started to spread brine Thursday and others plan to begin brining Friday. Crews in the Kinston area applied more than 138,000 gallons of brine to roads. On the Outer Banks, crews have staged equipment next to N.C. 12 to remove sand, water and other debris if necessary.
File photo of U.S. 1 in Southern Pines.